Microsoft is working towards fine tuning all aspects of Windows 8.1 ahead of release later this year. Despite its touch-centric nature, one area where the operating system hasn’t really shined is in its support of gestures across different laptop trackpads. According to The Verge, the company is finally taking the issue seriously and is working closely with partners to ensure a consistent experience on all devices.

Although the collaboration is still in the early stages, Intel, Elan, and Synaptics are all on board to allow Windows 8.1 to directly control the pointer, multi-touch, and gesture support in trackpads.

Areas of focus include smoother scrolling, better zooming and panning support, accidental activation prevention  to filter out non-deliberate touches, as well as supporting the full range of gestures available on Windows 8.1 so that laptop trackpads work more like mini touch-screens, similar to how Apple’s trackpads operate.

The initiative is being called "Precision Touchpad" support and we may see its first results in laptops shipping by the end of the year. At this point it’s unclear if the improved trackpad functionality will be limited to new devices or if firmware updates for existing Windows 8 machines are forthcoming.

First round of updates for 8.1: no critical flaws

On a somewhat related note, the recently released Windows 8.1 Preview has received its first round of fixes this morning. Available through Windows Update, the patch includes six updates that address a number of different issues, two of those issues are rated as “important” while the remaining four are listed as “recommended.”

One of the important updates involves new virus definitions for Windows Defender, while the other improves compatibility with a number of third-party programs AutoCAD, Parallels Desktop, Norton security software, and AVG Internet Security. The four recommended updates address an issue with Windows Store apps crashing upon launch, a bug that kept IE11 from resuming downloads, an issue that prevented signing in to certain apps with Google accounts, and improving “the robustness of data files in Windows 8.1.”

The updates are available for both Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.